Sierra campgrounds are bracing for El Niño and with it, some great winter lineups. Forecasts are calling for early Sierra snows and a wet winter. Campgrounds up and down the Sierra are prepping for a winter full of campers and winter sports enthusiasts.
“Once we get major snow, we open up a snow park with sledding and tubing,” said Cisco Grove owner Debbie Martin, adding that her 5,800-foot park, which typically receives five to 12 feet of snow in a good year, is also popular with snowmobile enthusiasts who enjoy exploring ATV trails and skiers who enjoy Lake Tahoe area resorts. Dog sledding tours are also available in the area, she said.
Heed the playful call of California’s alpine majesty.
Trip length: 4-5 days
Total distance: 981mi
TRUCKEE. Fuel up with omelets at teeny-tiny Squeeze In. Go for a family-friendly bike ride with Tahoe Mountain Guides, or explore backcountry trails at Donner Summit. INFO Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce
SQUAW VALLEY (12mi; 20min). At High Camp, splash in a free-form heated pool at 8,200 feet. Get a massage at the Resort at Squaw Creek. Treat the kids to Shirley Temples at Plumpjack Café.
INFO North Lake Tahoe Visitors' Bureaus
Stay at nearby RV parks and campgrounds>
Get some altitude in mountain peaks, attitude on river runs, and time and space under the stars.
Trip length: 4-5 days
Total distance: 473mi
Squaw Valley Ride this mountain resort’s high-flying tram to High Camp to zip around the ice-skating rink, jump in the pool, and dine while overlooking snowy peaks and views.
Kings Beach (7mi; 12min). Get the hang of stand-up paddleboarding with a lesson at Tahoe Paddle & Oar. Or join a guided kayak tour.
Stay at nearby RV Parks and campgrounds>Stay at nearby RV Parks and campgrounds>
California’s Sierras are a mountain playground without compare. Yosemite, Mammoth Mountain, Lake Tahoe; if the sound of these icons doesn’t set your heart racing, you’d better check for a pulse.
Trip Time: 6 days
Total distance: 387mi
No Visit to a California destination would be complete without visiting one of the many museums. California has a reputation as a haven for people with creative minds, and you can see this in its multifaceted cultural offerings. Arts abound here in four main formats: large-scale, world-class organizations; smaller, quirkier museums, often showcasing the Golden State’s history and its abundant idiosyncratic subcultures (think surfers, Silicon Valley techno-wizards, and Peanuts aficionados).
When the weather hinders traditional camping activities (or not) stretch your mind with a visit to one of California’s museums. Need more encouragement? Check out 10 Reasons to visit a museum!
KidZone Museum - Truckee is locatad off Interstate 80 from the Highway 89 junction. The museum focuses on a child's development of social, imaginative, physical and problem solving skills. Exhibits include an Art Studio, Jungle Gym and Exploration Station. Visit www.kidzonemuseum.org
Winter Olympics Museum - Tahoe is located mid-mountain at Squaw Valley. Squaw Valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics and all kinds of memorabilia from the event can be found in the museum. They even have an olympic podeum that the bronze, silver and gold winners once stood upon to receive their medals. Take time to rent ice skates and skim across the olympic-sized ice arena with astounding panoramic views of the Lake Tahoe region. Other amenities found at High Camp include a huge heated swimming lagoon, jacuzzis, restaurants and shops. High Camp is only accessible by ski gondola. Visit www.squaw.com/olympic-museum
Mammoth Ski Museum - Mammoth is located off Interstate 395 from Highway 203. Exhibits include vintage photography documenting the history of downhill skiing. Visit www.mammothlakesfoundation.org/museum.html
Editorial information provided in part by CaliforniaRevealed.com, a collection of native Californians and travelers who spend their time exploring California and sharing their discoveries.
Located near Donner Pass, this park not only stays open through the winter, but rents snowmobiles and grooms 26 miles of snowmobile trails. The park also has a snow play area and snow tubing hill. The park maintains several RV sites available throughout winter. Additional campsites can be plowed depending on demand. The park also offers six motel rooms.
A moveable sidewalk (“Moving Carpet”) that takes you from bottom to top with little effort
Market for snacks
Good crowd control for safety
Small and cozy with four runs. The runs are pretty good so
even adults will get a good rush before you flatten out.
Side areas for snow play, building snowmen and throwing snow balls